Frequently Asked Questions about Pools1. How do I prepare my pool for summer? (aka Pool Opening)
2. How do I prepare my pool for winter? (aka Pool Closing)
3. How often should I check my water?
4. What size heater is right for my pool or hot tub?
5. How do I clean my filter?
7. What is the difference between the various types of pools?
8. What is the process of shopping for a pool like?
9. How long does it take to install a pool?
10. How long will the pool last?
11. How long before I have to redo the surface?
12. How much does pool service cost?
13. How often do you come out and clean my pool?
14. Wouldn't it be easier & cheaper if I service the pool myself?
15. I only swim 3 or 4 months out of the year. What does that mean as far as my pool service goes?
16. How do I clear up green pool water?
17. How much will I have to spend on chemicals for my pool?
18. What do I do to keep the pool water clear?
19. Is there any system that will automatically dispense sanitizers into a pool to maintain its residual?
20. How often do I need to vacuum my pool?
21. How do I vacuum an in-ground or aboveground swimming pool?
23. Troubleshooting for common pool vacuum problems.
How do I prepare my pool for summer?
- If you use a solid winter cover, first drain off any standing water so
that it doesn't spill back into the pool.
Carefully remove the cover, sweep it and lay it out to dry.
This is a good time to clean the cover, either with a cover cleaner or water and a scrub brush.
Once it is thoroughly dry, fold and store in a dry place, out of sunlight.
- Inspect the entire pool carefully for damage that may have taken place
during the off season-especially leaks and tears in the vinyl liner or breaks
and cracks in the plaster or tiles.
After inspection add water until the level reaches about halfway up the skimmer opening.
Remove any debris with a leaf net.
- Make sure your pump, skimmer and filter are working properly.
If the filter was not chemically cleaned at the end of last season, clean it using a filter cleaner to remove hardened deposits which can hamper filter performance.
Run the pump while you vacuum.
Brush the pool thoroughly.
- After running the pump for at least five hours, fill a clean plastic container with a quart of pool water and bring it in for a thorough analysis. We will provide easy instructions for making the necessary adjustments to your pool's water balance.
How do I prepare my pool for winter?Close your pool as close to the end of September as possible. Warm weather will encourage algae growth.
- Take a sample of pool water to Classic Pool and Spa for a laboratory analysis.
Fill a clean plastic container with a quart of pool water and take it to your pool professional for a thorough analysis. Your dealer will tell you exactly what your water needs to protect it from bacteria and algae during the winter. For many pools, a final addition of shock, top up of sanitizer, and an initial dose of algaecide will be the only treatment the water needs.
- Perform basic housekeeping chores: Brush and vacuum. Remove, clean, and store the skimmer basket and pump's strainer basket. Clean the filter using a filter cleaner to quickly remove deposits that are apt to harden over the winter, saving you the extra work at the beginning of next season.
- For Above Ground Pools: Drain the water level about four inches below the skimmer level.
For In Ground Pools: Put an equalizer plug in the skimmer (it is not necessary to lower the water level). Always follow the instructions in your pool owner's manual if it says to do it differently.
Drain the water from the pump, filter, heater, inline chlorinators, hoses and pipes.
It is recommended that you can disconnect the entire unit and store it indoors.
If you do, follow the manufacture's recommendations for lubrication and storage.
Use winterizing plugs to close off the return lines, vacuum line and skimmer. If you use a skimmer equalizer it is not necessary to drop the water.
- The purpose of covering a pool is to keep leaves and debris out of the water while it isn't in use.
If nothing foreign gets into the pool, there's nothing to alter the water's chemistry, so you won't have to add chemicals to compensate for changes.
It's important to use a solid pool cover that fits well and is designed for your pool.
If you decide not to cover your pool or to use a mesh cover, check the sanitizer and pH levels twice a month during the off-season and run your filter continuously 4-5 hours per day.
How often should I check my water?Hot Tub or Spa - water should be checked three time per week for those using chlorine, bromine or a mineral purifier. One time per week for those using a biguinide product such as BaquaSpa. A water sample should be taken to the dealer for analysis one time per month.
Swimming Pool - During the swimming season the water should be tested daily or at least 4 times per week for those using chlorine, bromine or a mineral purifier. Those using biguinide products, such as Baquacil, should check the water one time per week. Because the water quality changes quickly on hot days it is important to not let it get out of hand or you may miss days of swimming because of dirty water. A water sample should be taken to the dealer for analysis two times per month.
Back to Top
What size heater is right for my pool or hot tub?The heater size you need is based upon several factors, such as the ambient temperature change at your location during a 24 hour period and if you use an insulating cover.
Basically, how much heat is retained and how long you want the recovery time to be to reach your desired water temperature. Consider the following chart a guideline. Please contact one of our pool professionals at Classic Pool & Spa to answer further questions and discuss your options.
|Above-Ground Pools with average water depth 48"|
|POOL SIZE||GALLONS||HEATER SIZE (BTU's)|
|HOT TUB SIZE (in gallons)||HEATER SIZE (BTU's)|
|200 thru 900||100,000|
Helpful Hint: It is highly recommended that you purchase a solar blanket in conjunction with your new heater for your pool or spa. It does not allow your heated pool water to dissipate as quickly and is designed to utilize the sun to help to heat your pool through solar rays. A solar blanket will reduce your gas cost and keep you pool warmer - longer!
Solar HeatingThere is no precise formula for figuring how many square feet of solar collectors are needed to heat a hot tub or pool. Weather conditions, site selection and the efficiency of collectors are variables which must be taken into account. A useful ratio for solar collectors is approximately 3 square feet of collector for every 4 square feet of water surface.
|Pool size||Number of 40 sq. foot solar collectors needed|
|16' Round||1 Panel|
|20' Round||1 Panel|
|24' Round||1 Panel|
|28' Round||2 Panels|
|12'x24' Oval||1 Panel|
|15'x24' Oval||1 Panel|
|14'x28' Oval||1 Panel|
|16'x32' Oval||1 Panel|
|18'x34' Oval||2 Panels|
|20'x40' Oval||3 Panels|
Over 80,000 BTU's of heat a day, will raise pool water temperature up to 10 degrees.
Back to Top
How do I clean my filter?Cartridge type filter - Rinsed weekly, soaked in cleaner when water is changed, and replaced every two years.
- Remove the cartridge from the filter housing following the
- Use a garden hose with a straight flow nozzle to wash down the
Work from the top down holding the nozzle at a 45 degree angle and wash all the pleats with emphasis between pleats.
- Rinse until all dirt and debris gone.
- For all spa cartridges and elements used in swimming pools where perspiration, suntan lotions, and other oils are present; soak the element for at least one hour (over night is most effective) in a commercial filter cleaner, such as Filter Fresh.
- Rinse the cartridge again to remove oils and cleaning solution.
- Backwash and drain filter.
- Turn pump off.
Place filter valve in the backwash position.
Pour commercial filter cleaner into pump strainer.
- Turn pump on to fill filter.
Turn pump off when water appears in the backwash sight glass.
Leave filter in the backwash position and allow to soak 24 hours.
- Backwash the filter until the water in the sight glass is clear.
Resume normal filter operation
Back to Top
How can I swim chlorine free?COME ON IN TO CLASSIC POOL & SPA...
And experience all the pleasures of chlorine-free swimming and hot tubing.
With BAQUACIL and BAQUASPA, you'll enjoy all the fun your swimming pool and hot tub have to offer, with none of the harsh chlorine-related side effects including:
Faded swim suits and vinyl pool liners
BAQUACIL and BAQUASPA chemical structure makes it extremely stable. So, unlike halogen sanitizers like chlorine and bromine, BAQUACIL and BAQUASPA are not affected by:
SunlightIf all these things sound good to you, please let us know, so we can get a start up kit sent out to you.
Back to Top
What is the difference between the various types of pools?Swimming pools come in three basic varieties: concrete, vinyl-liner, and fiberglass.
Concrete is the oldest method and the most labor intensive on the site. These pools are completely built on the site with steel-reinforced concrete. This allows almost infinite design flexibility.
Pool builders can use one of three methods to create a concrete shell: guniting, shotcreting, and pouring concrete. The most common - gunite and shotcrete - are pneumatically applied (applied with air pressure). The concrete is shot out of a nozzle and piled onto the earthen walls of the excavation and over the steel rebar reinforcement.
Pneumatically applying concrete was not the first method used to create a concrete shell. Originally, concrete pools were made of poured concrete, meaning workers create a set of forms and pour the concrete into the form to hold it into vertical walls. Shotcrete and guniting became the most common methods of concrete construction because they don't require forms, making it quicker, less labor intensive and less expensive than pouring concrete.
Like all concrete structures, these pools can last decades when properly constructed. Improperly constructed, however, they can crack from ground movement caused by freeze/thaw cycles, high water tables, hillside locations, or by seismic activity. The cost goes up in areas with these conditions because extra reinforcing is needed to prevent movement. Because these pools are constructed entirely on site, the quality depends on the job's craftspeople.
Vinyl-liner (or package) pools are less time consuming and, in some regions, a less expensive method of construction. Installation of these pools requires assembling pre-manufactured wall panels and supports, then covering the hole with a vinyl liner. These pools are especially popular in cold-weather states because the panels have a certain degree of flex and hold up well under freeze/thaw conditions without extra reinforcement - or extra cost. Some people prefer the feel of the vinyl surface and believe the liners hold up to chemically treated water better than concrete. The components are pre-manufactured, which creates design limitations. But it also means that part of the quality controls is in the factory.
Wall systems generally are made of steel, polymer and aluminum. The most common (steel) is the least expensive, but can be subject to corrosion. This problem is becoming scarcer because manufacturers offer galvanizing and other treatments to prolong the life, with some manufacturers even offering lifetime warranties. Polymer walls are more easily formed into unusual shapes than metal and are said to better withstand ground conditions, but are more expensive. Aluminum is a strong material and the panels are lighter, making them easier to install and less expensive to ship. These panels are said to hold up well under various ground conditions, except acidic soil. However, aluminum wall systems are rarely used because of their expense.
Fiberglass pools are said to boast the benefits of concrete and vinyl - that is, the permanence of concrete, with the soft feel, flex, and chemical impervious of vinyl-liner pools. The nonporous material also is said to resist staining from algae or other factors. Its cost is comparable to, or higher than similar concrete pools. But manufactures and installers say the cost is offset by lower maintenance. Fiberglass pools are completely manufactured in a factory. This centralizes quality control, but it also limits shapes and sizes to those offered by the manufacturer.
Fiberglass pools are the quickest and easiest to install because they come in or rarely two pieces that simply need to be set in the hole and plugged into the plumbing and electricity.
Back to Top
What is the process of shopping for a pool like?The duration of the entire process, from first appointment to final product, can take a matter of weeks, months, or years, depending on the complexity of the project. How long a consumer takes to "shop" among builders depends upon the consumer and how many builders they want to meet.
The time required for design itself varies greatly. Some clients choose from a selection of previously designed (or template) pools. Others want a custom-designed aquascape and want to have input at every stage. In some cases, design continues during construction, whenever clients wish to make last minute adjustments or additions. Design time also depends on how the builder works. Some offer template pools or design the pool in front of the homeowner during their first meeting. Higher-end builders will meet with customers several times during the design process.
Back to Top
How long does it take to install a pool?Timelines depend on a number of circumstances, such as the type of construction (shotcrete/gunite vs. vinyl or fiberglass); complexity of the project; weather conditions; the number of clients already being served; and availability of subcontractors. On a project where a home or other building also is under construction, having to schedule around other trades may hold things up.
Concrete (shotcrete, gunite, poured concrete) construction will take the longest because the entire product is created on site from basic materials such as concrete, steel rebar, and plumbing. A basic pool (rectangular, no water features) on a property with an existing home can be built in four to six weeks, depending on the region. This timeline also assumes there is no interruption, everyone is immediately available and there are no scheduling, delivery, weather glitches, or change orders (meaning the clients change their minds about something or decide to add on something extra).
Completion may be delayed by rain or snow. Builders in cold-weather states generally try to complete construction before freezes hit. Sometimes, however, builders may have to stop construction midway until the weather warms up.
Project complexity and scale also have a tremendous effect on the timeline for concrete pools. While a basic pool may take only a few weeks, more intricate, large-scale pools have been known to take months and even years. Every stage, beginning with excavation, will take longer than with a small, basic pool. Also, some materials require extra time: Surfacing a complete pool with glass mosaic tile, for instance, can take weeks on its own because it is such meticulous work.
Vinyl-liner pools are assembled with wall panels made in a plant, so their installation generally happens more quickly. Under ideal conditions and without interruption, a basic vinyl-liner pool can be put together within two weeks after breaking ground.
Fiberglass pools are the most complete product when they enter the site. They are completely manufactured in the factory and only need to be dropped into an excavation and hooked up to plumbing and electricity. Under ideal conditions and without interruption, one-piece fiberglass pools can be up and running within two weeks of arrival on the site.
Back to Top
How long will the pool last?This depends on several variables, including the type of pool installed, the quality of the installer, and the manufacturer. Properly installed concrete pools have lasted several decades. But this requires that the pool be properly engineered and built. Some package-pool (vinyl liner) manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their panels, and fiberglass manufacturers say the fiberglass makes their product inherently permanent.
Back to Top
How long before I have to redo the surface?
- There are as many answers to this question as there are pool surfaces:
- Tile and stone surfaces, considered the most permanent, can be expected to last decades. Some tile or stones may have to be replaced and reinstalled if they pop out. The grout should last approximately 20 years.
- Plaster, the most common surface for concrete pools, needs resurfacing approximately every 12 to 15 years.
- The life of a vinyl liner depends on the quality of the liner and how well the water chemistry is balanced. Putting a cover on the pool will also extend the liner's life. By some accounts, a vinyl liner's life span is anywhere from six to 15 years. Some are guaranteed to hold water for up to 20 years. However, homeowners may want to replace them sooner as patterns begin to fade.
- Pebble and other aggregate surfaces are said to last as long as 15 to 20 years.
- Paint usually needs reapplication within 3 years.
- Fiberglass pool manufacturers say their pools never need resurfacing.
How much does pool service cost?This depends on several variables: the region in which the customer lives (upper class, middle class, affluent and so on); the type of pool (simple rectangle or complex geometric with lots of bells and whistles), and the type of service desired. For instance, do you want cleaning and skimming, or do you want water balancing and sanitizing too? Do you want the equipment maintained? Do you want pool opening and closing service?
Most of these services are itemized on the bill. Average monthly pool maintenance bills can run from approximately $150 to $300 a month, depending on the types of services provided.
Back to Top
How often do you come out and clean my pool?It depends on the type of service you sign on for. If chemical balancing is involved and the pool endures a heavy weekly bather load, then once a week is most common. On pools with lighter bather loads and covers, twice a month or every other week can probably get the job done.
Back to Top
Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper if I service the pool myself?It might be cheaper in the short run, but it could cost you plenty in the long run. Most pool owners start out thinking they can handle the service - until they realize what goes into keeping a poll safe and clean.
As a pool owner, do you understand the relationship between pH and total alkalinity (TA) and how it affects your water balance? If the pool changes color, will you know what's causing it - algae or precipitating metals? Do you know what the Saturation Index is, and it's significance? Do you know how to get the most life out of a circulation pump and prevent cavitation?
Most service technicians today are well trained, certified professionals who are experts in water chemistry, hydraulics, filtration, plumbing, electricity, and sanitization. An improperly maintained pool can make you and your family sick and can even pose dangers if total dissolved solids (TDS) levels rise to high, making the water too cloudy to see the bottom. If you hire a good pool service company, the money would be well spent for the peace of mind alone.
Back to Top
I only swim 3 or 4 months out of the year.
Most pool service companies offer both openings and closings for their customers who live in regions with seasonal swimming. These procedures help get the pool ready for the summer swimming season after a long winter of hibernation, and prepare the pool to lie dormant during the freezing winter months. Techs often offer these services as parts of an overall maintenance program (a contract), or homeowners can request them as needed (though it's usually more expensive that way).
What does that mean as far as my pool service goes?
Back to Top
How do I clear up green pool water?This depends on what caused the green water. Several culprits are possible. Algae are the most common answer and an algaecide normally will take care of the problem. If copper caused the problem, a chelator will do the trick (or a clarifier). But remember, you need to find out how the mineral is getting into the water (copper heating elements, source water, and the like) or it will just continue to happen.
Back to Top
How much will I have to spend on chemicals for my pool?This depends on a variety of factors: pool size, bather loads, temperature, wind conditions, surrounding environment, whether the pool has a cover, and so on. Also, the type of chemical is key to cost.
Even within the chlorine family, the price line is pretty diverse. For example, lithium chloride is much, much more expensive that the more common sodium hypochlorite (aka bleach). And a non-chlorine sanitizer such as a biguanide system is significantly more money than chlorine. Pools with small bather loads will use up fewer chemicals than those with large bather loads and, of course, pools with covers that are closed after each use will hang onto their chemical residuals much longer. As for cost, it can run anywhere from $15 to $75 per month depending on the aforementioned variables.
Back to Top
What do I do to keep the pool water clear?Good water balance is key. Keep the pH and total alkalinity (TA) in the proper ranges and, above all, be sure the chlorine (or sanitizer) residuals are maintained at the proper levels. Covers help keep dirt and debris out and reduce cloudy water. For turbid water situations, there are chelators, flocculants, and clarifiers to fix most problems.
Back to Top
Is there any system that will automatically dispense sanitizers into a pool to maintain its residual?BaquaSpa AD ensures that appropriate, precise levels are dosed into your pool every day. There's no trial and error because it's all done automatically. You simply test your pool once a week. It's that simple to a crystal clear pool and peace of mind automatically.
The BAQUACIL Pool Care System is a complete pool sanitizing system consisting of BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT, BAQUACIL SHOCK & OXIDIZER, and BAQUACIL ALGICIDE. The product that actually kills bacteria in pool water is BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT. The two other products in the system work with this product to keep your pool sparkling clear and algae free.
The active ingredient in BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT is polyhexamethylene biguanide. It's so gentle it is used in some contact lens cleaning solutions. BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT's chemical structure makes it extremely stable. So, unlike halogen sanitizers like chlorine and bromine, BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT is not effected by sunlight, temperature, and pH fluctuations.
With the BAQUACIL Pool Care System, you get a pool that is sparkling clear without the harsh effects of chlorine. No irritation to eyes or skin. No harsh odors. No faded swimsuits. And no damaged pool liners. And with BAQUACIL AD, the chlorine-free, care-free benefits have never been more convenient.
Back to Top
How often do I need to vacuum my pool?Vacuuming should be done as often as you think. Normally, once a week is sufficient. Generally speaking, the more a pool is used the less vacuuming it needs. It's pretty simple. Many pool owners enjoy vacuuming on a nice sunny summer morning . Many of our customers enjoy the convenience of an automatic pool vacuum to do this work for them. Even so, a good manual vacuum should be done once a month.
Back to Top
How do I vacuum an in-ground or aboveground swimming pool?
- If your pool is equipped, be sure that the valve on the suction line coming into the pump is selected for the port (either skimmer or lower suction fitting) you will be using to vacuum.
- Attach the vacuum hose to the vacuum head (the piece with the brushes or wheels on it). The better quality vacuum hoses come with a swivel end to prevent tangling of the hose. Be sure that this is the end that is attached to the vacuum head; if not the system will draw air & not work properly.
- Make sure the hose is secure and the vacuum head is firmly attached to the pole.
- Place the vacuum head, hose & pole into the deep end of the pool (make sure one end of the pole is sticking out of the water!)
- Take the UN-attached end of the vacuum hose & hold it in front of one of the water return fittings. This will fill the hose with water & prevent binding of the pump with air. You know you've got enough water in the hose when the vacuum head bubbles up to the top.
- Put your hand over the end of the hose to keep the water IN.
- Place the skimmer basket adapter on top of the skimmer basket. Always use a basket to prevent the possible suction of a large object from getting stuck in the skimmer or in the underground line.
- If vacuuming through a lower suction without a basket, use a leaf trap.
- After you have placed the hose on the adapter fitting you will probably notice a sudden drop in filter activity. This is normal. The filter system is just readjusting itself to the change in suction. Let it operate for about 30 to 90 seconds. It should automatically bleed any air out of its system and return to normal operation. You'll hear the sound becoming "normal" again.
- Vacuum away!
Troubleshooting common pool vacuuming problems.No suction: Either the hose has come off of the basket, the filter has lost its prime (not sucking water) or the hose a leak (make sure you've got the proper end of the hose on the vac head). If you have more than one suction line, be sure you're drawing from the proper one.
Dirty water returning to the pool: If you have a sand filter, DO NOT BACKWASH THE FILTER BEFORE VACUUMING. Backwashing stirs up the sand & prevents good trapping of dirt for several HOURS. In cartridge or DE filters, this rarely happens.
I vacuum for a few minutes & then it doesn't work anymore: How dirty is the pool? If it's REALLY dirty, you may be better off vacuuming to direct waste (sand filter) or otherwise vacuuming directly out of the pool by-passing the filter.
Back to Top